Hot Air Ballooning UAE
Hot Air Ballooning and Balloon tourist trips and adventures in Abu Dhabi Al Ain Dubai UAE. Information, guide, and list of companies.
- A balloon adventure costs about AED 1000 per person and lasts about 4-5 hours total with about 1 hour air time (except for the Ibn Battuta Mall ride).
- Balloon flights depart early in the morning (pre-dawn) to catch the sunrise ... hopefully.
- Operating months are usually September to May but the months of September and May will probably be uncomfortably hot for most people.
- Bring warm clothes in the winter months (December, January). Temperature before sunrise can get as low as around 10° Celcius in the desert.
- Hot air ballooning is not a risk-free activity. If there's a noticeable breeze during the evening before your flight, consider rescheduling your trip. Most mornings in the UAE are relatively calm, as are most evenings after the sun sets A windy evening often means a windy following morning also. A windy morning could mean a bumpy landing, or worse as it turned out for some travellers in April 2010 (see below).
Hot Air Balloon companies in the UAE
Most websites that turn up in searches of hot air balloon flights in the UAE are likely to be booking agents for one of the companies listed below.
- Amigos Balloons, based in Dubai, tel +971-4-2899295, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website says "We are the original founders of hot air ballooning in Dubai, UAE and the Gulf." Flights operate from near Dubai and other locations.
- Balloon Adventures Emirates (BAE), based in Dubai,
tel +971-4-2854949, email email@example.com. Flights operate from near Al Ain but they do Dubai pickups. Operations suspended after 25 April 2010 balloon crash.
- Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall - a very junior hot air balloon ride in the car park near the Dubai Geant Hypermarket. Balloon is tied to the Earth with a rope so you won't drift away (or very high). Operates most of the year, most of the time when the mall is open.
Hot Air Balloon accident in Al Ain - 25 April 2010
- A balloon belonging to Balloon Adventures Emirates being piloted by
Piotr Gorny, crash-landed in the desert near Al Ain in high winds, killing two of the passengers and putting one of the crew in hospital in intensive care.
- The director of the UAE company,
Peter Kollar, was previously running hot air balloon companies in New Zealand (Up, Up and Away (MacKenzie) Ltd, and
Balloon Adventures, Up Up and Away Ltd) which operated a balloon that crash-landed in 1995, killing three tourists.
- According to a report in The National on 26 April 2010, he claimed "he was the victim of a "vendetta" by New Zealand aviation authorities". The same report also said that he was "twice convicted of breaching safety standards" in New Zealand following the 1995 accident, and his NZ company (Up Up And Away?) was "the
subject of 15 official complaints over a 12-year period to 2003,"
- Apparently those incidents in NZ were not relevant to Mr Kollar's operation in the UAE - the same report said "Mr Kollar said that he had never denied or hidden his New Zealand flying history and did not believe it was pertinent to the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority's decision to authorise the company to operate commercial balloon flights or to give him a UAE commercial pilot's licence,"
- In July 2010, UAE courts sentenced the pilot of the balloon to one year in jail and a AED 20,000 fine. The families of the dead passengers were reportedly awarded AED 200,000 each (presumably "blood money" which is normal in the UAE). Mr Kollar, the director of Balloon Adventures Emirates has reportedly left the UAE, and company operations have been suspended while the UAE GCAA continues its investigation.
Last update Saturday 04-Dec-2010. Page development 4L 5C.
Related websites (new window)
- www.amigos-balloons.com - Amigos Balloons website
- www.ballooning.ae - Emirates Balloon Adventures website
- www.skydubaiadventure.com - Ibn Battuta ballon ride, operated by Dubai Balloon?
- Dubai directory - add your link free